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SERWAN ZANGANA: “Rescue Roanoke Now” Candidates Embraced By Roanoke Citizens

Under Rescue Roanoke Now, Mayoral candidate David Bowers and two City Council candidates, property developer Nick Hagen and veteran / businessman, Jim Garrett were embraced by a crowd on Tuesday in Roanoke.

The three vowed to serve the citizens of Roanoke and put honesty and transparency first in their work. “We have turmoil.” Bowers said, speaking of Roanoke City and its Council. As a former Roanoke City Mayor, Bowers pointed out the issues and the lack of solutions by current City Council members. Bowers pointed out that crimes and high taxes have been depleting the City.

Bowers criticized the gun violence prevention program that has had little effect on gun violence in the City. He said we need, “ Gun violence apprehension.” In order to crack down on gangs and crimes. Bower said that people told him they are afraid to walk in Roanoke. Homelessness and crimes are the major concern for people.

Roanoke City Council members continue to spend money on unrealistic ideas. The reality of Roanoke City is evidence of the failure of Council members’ work.

On top of all the issues, Roanoke City Council recently hit the City’s schools very hard with a new budget law. The law changed the formula of the schools’ budget and ended the 40% automatic fund.

Nick Hagen (L) and Jim Garrett.

It is noteworthy that City Council’s changing of the budget formula for Roanoke City Schools was opposed by the schools administration, school and education experts, school board members, and the teachers and members of PTA. However, Roanoke City Vice Mayor Joe Cobb and the members of the Council put the interest of the City Schools behind, ignored people’s voices, and sided with their political agenda as they approved the new budget law.

Bowers said, “ If I am elected I will reimpose the 40% budget for City schools.” Bowers also expressed his concern about the increase of City’s spending which is over by $23 million.

Council Candidate Nick Hagen added that the major issues in Roanoke City cannot be ignored. He said by talking to people and showing them the reality of over 20 years of Democrats running the City can be seen in high crimes and high taxes. “ We need change, we have seen what over 20 years of Democrats governance has gotten us, high crime, high taxes.” Hagen said.

As a citizen of Roanoke City, its hard not to see Hagen’s points and concerns.

Council Candidate Jim Garrett pointed out that the spending increase of Roanoke City is based on data. However, despite the spending increase, there are no signs of improvement and better services in the City. Garrett clearly said, “ I want a government that works for people, one that is transparent and has its citizens’ best interest in heart.”

Apparently, the latest chaos in the City Council regarding the resignation of City Manager Bob Cowell and placing Mayor Sherman Lea as temporary City Manager revealed the political purpose of Council members and their lack of transparency. It was not a surprise what Cowell told The Roanoke Times, “ Sometimes I think that councils are maybe too quick to pull that trigger, rather than trying to figure out how to sit down and solve problems or address issues.”

That does indeed, sound like Roanoke City Council.

Bowers, Hagen, and Garrett reminded people of Roanoke the importance of voting for the three in order to make a positive change in Roanoke.
However, it was mentioned that people can cast their ballot early on September 20. It was also noted that the ballot will have three names of City Council Candidates, people need to mark Nick Hagen and Jim Garrett and leave the third name blank.

– Serwan Zangana supported Operation Iraqi Freedom as a U.S Army translator before coming to the U.S from Kurdistan, Iraq in 1997 to seek political asylum. He was granted asylum status and years later proudly became a U.S citizen. He currently serves as a correction officer in Roanoke.

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